Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Everyone's rope is a different length. The ends of them are arrived at differently and at different times. The distance from the beginning to the end of these ropes is arbitrary and tough to get any sort of feel for. No one is sure what or where their end is. They couldn't tell you. It could be after a screaming match that got out of hand late one night. It could be with that glare that came one too many times. It could just be when the blueness of your day or your year turned from a navy blue to a midnight blue. It might just be that your rope was a calendar and it was only a matter of time before it finally ran out of pages and it's then that the bags get packed and the shoulders turn for the final time. Some people reach the end of their rope and make a production out of it, blowing up or combusting, but most just walk away, having seen the end coming from quite some time. New York's Swear and Shake do these kinds of finding the end and riding off into the sunset stories in an exceptional way.
With the back and forth vocals of Kari Spieler and Adam McHeffey setting the tone of these tales, they're made into these terrific transcriptions - detailed and elaborately considered on both sides, but sealed up internally and not for perusal until after the fact, when the dust had settled. Some of these sentiments and this insight falls into the category of too little, too late. It would have been great had it just been spilled or shared. It might have delayed a conclusion or defused a bomb had the people just been forthright, but no matter who anyone lives with, they tend to always live alone - in some solitary way. They confine these important monologues and just let the fur and the feathers fly. They get themselves into their binds and their pinches and they find it to be normal to feel the draftiness in a relationship until it's just not bearable any longer.
A song like "The Light," tells the story of a couple obviously at a crossroads, though the man does not grasp it. The woman sings, "I'd rather take off running than stay here and rot," already at the gas station, filling the tank of her car, on the way out of town. The man is home still, thinking that it couldn't be as bad as it feels because her bags are still there in the bedroom and she wouldn't just leave all of her stuff. She's bound to come back. She has to and when she does, the steam will have worked itself off and they can settle back into their happy slice of domesticity, but it's over. The end can't be shaken or extended.
Swear and Shake Official Site